Napoleon, a life, by John Holland Rose

(Article by Peter HICKS)

Napoleon, a life, by John Holland Rose

The life of Napoleon I: including new materials from the British official records, London : Bell, 1901

Born in Bedford, England, and after studying at Bedford Modern School, Holland Rose (1855 – 1942) was later educated at Owens College in Manchester in the 1870s. He was then elected a scholar at Christ’s College, Cambridge (later to become a fellow), passed his M.A. and become a university extension lecturer there in history. Rose had a literary career as well as one of a historian, being the general editor of a series on Victorian life published in the late 1890s. Rose not only wrote on Napoleonic history but also on classical antiquity and contemporary matters, writing notably on the First World War. From 1919-1934 he was the first prestigious Vere-Harmsworth Professor of Naval History, at the University of Cambridge. He was a leading authority on British history of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period. He bequeathed a sum to Christ’s College for the endowment of a scholarship to encourage the study of British imperial history.

Holland Rose’s book has stood the test of time and stands as testimony to his bold claim at the end of the preface that “I can honestly say, in the words of the late Bishop of London, that “I have tried to write true history.”  And we are willing still to read his work because, as he wrote:
“While not neglecting the personal details of the great man’s life, I have dwelt mainly on his public career. Apart from his brilliant conversations, his private life has few features of abiding interest, perhaps because he early tired of the shallowness of Josephine and the Corsican angularity of his brothers and sisters. But the cause also lay in his own disposition. He once said to M. Gallois: “Je n’aime pas beaucoup les femmes, ni le jeu -enfin rien: – je suis tout à fait un être politique.” In dealing with him as a warrior and statesman, and in sparing my readers details as to his bolting his food, sleeping at concerts, and indulging in amours where for him there was no glamour of romance, I am laying stress on what interested him most -in a word, I am taking him at his best.”

This great biography of Napoleon can not only be consulted at the Bibliothèque Martial Lapeyre (shelfmark: N B 0 rose) but also downloaded from the web at the following link. John Holland Rose, Napoleon, a life

A short bibliography of other “Napoleonic” works by John Holland Rose

A Short Life of William Pitt. [With portraits.], G. Bell & Sons: London, 1925.
– “Bonaparte and the Conquest of Italy.”, “The Egyptian Expedition.”, “The Second Coalition”. in Acton (J. E. E. D.) Baron Acton. The Cambridge Modern History. vol. 8. “The French Revolution”. 1902, etc.
Dumouriez, and the defence of England against Napoleon [S.l.] : Lane, 1909.
Lord Hood and the defence of Toulon [S.l.] : Cambridge Univ. Press, 1922.
– “The Napoleonic Empire at its Height, 1807-9.”, “The Continental System, 1809-14”, in Acton (J. E. E. D.) Baron Acton. The Cambridge Modern History. vol. 9, “Napoleon”, Cambridge: CUP 1906
Napoleonic Studies, [S.l.] : George Bell and Sons, 1904.
The personality of Napoleon : the Lowell lectures delivered at Boston in February-March 1912, London : George Bell & Sons, 1912.
– “Pictorial Satire as a factor in Napoleonic History”, in Broadley (A. M.) Napoleon in Caricature, etc. 1911.
Pitt and Napoleon, [S.l.] : Bell, 1912.
– “The Revolutionary and Napoleonic era: 1789-1815”, in Prothero (G. W.) Cambridge Historical Series, etc. 1894
The Struggle with Revolutionary France.-The Contest with Napoleon. (1922.)
William Pitt and National Revival, G. Bell & Sons: London, 1911.
William Pitt and the great war, [S.l.] : Bell, 1912.
Selected despatches from the British Foreign Office Archives relating to the formation of the third coalition against France, 1804-1805, [S.l.] : Royal Historical Society, 1904. series, Camden Society. Third Series ; Vol. 7.

Author: HICKS, Peter